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02-14-09, 11:17 AM #1
Sex ed teacher tries humor; student posts video on YouTube
The Grant High School teacher is wearing a condom on his head and a pair of red underwear over his pants with a strategically placed hole in the middle. He's trying to explain the dangers of unsafe sex, but the students' laughter and gasps of disbelief drown him out.
A student shot the four-minute video of Norman Scott's sex education class with a cell phone camera late last year. It's received a prolonged life on YouTube and a stern rebuke from school district officials: Don't ever teach that way again.
"What you saw in that video in no way, shape or form represents Portland Public Schools' approved curriculum," district spokesman Matt Shelby said. "Sex education can be a tough subject, and I've certainly known health teachers who try to make it a bit more engaging and break the ice, but that was well beyond anything I've ever seen."
Scott, who has taught health and physical education in high school and middle school for 33years, said the video clip doesn't capture the intent of his class, which is to educate 10th-graders about the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases and the importance of safe sex.
The 45-minute class starts out with him dressed in a wig and hat, pretending to be a former high school student who has gotten two girls pregnant and contracted six sexually transmitted diseases. The character gives teens a guide to safe sex and says the best sex is in a lifelong committed marriage or monogamous relationship.
The condom-and-underwear routine was his first, Scott said.
District officials declined to say whether they disciplined him, but he remains in his current job as a health teacher at Grant.
Scott defends the lesson and said he may try to teach it again next year.
"It was very effective," he said. "Sometime you get the point across better when you come back at it from a different angle."
Grant High Principal Joseph Malone said he hasn't received any complaints about the video, just parents asking if he'd seen it and students expressing surprise at Scott's teaching method.
The district has an approved curriculum for sex ed, including how to use a condom. But Malone said it's up to individual teachers how to design their lessons. Asked what he thought of the video, he laughed.
"It's hard to say," Malone said. "There are some things I never would have addressed in that manner."
Esther Kim, the 17-year-old junior who shot the video, said she thought Scott's presentation was amusing and wanted to share it with her friends. She said it has received 600 views, which surprises her because she never thought it would reach so many people. She called Scott "courageous" for putting a condom over his head.
"Instead of a boring film or lecture, I think it was pretty interesting," Kim said. "It was kind of awkward, but funny."
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